John and Carrie Komes and Julie and Pat Garvey established Flora Springs in 1977, though the vineyard has history dating back to the early 1800s, when Napa was just forming its roots as a California wine region. So the families already had a jump start on success by purchasing fertile land perfect for crafting what they’d soon be known for — Bordeaux blends. But John Komes admittedly has had a “long love affair” with Chardonnay and it was, in fact, the first Flora Springs varietal he produced 40 years ago. And though he’s seen Chardonnay styles go in and out of fashion — from the classic Cali butter-bomb to the sometimes scandalous 100% stainless steel — current winemaker Paul Steinauer maintains the winemaking methods that expresses Chardonnay in the same way that enraptured John from the very beginning.
No one knows Tannat like Yannick Rosseau. He grew up surrounded by the vines in the grape’s — and his — French home in Gascony. He drank his first wine, brewed by his grandfather, at the age of 5, and immersed himself in wine education in every way possible thereafter. But it’s more than one’s heritage and even one’s knowledge that distinguishes a talented winemaker. Yannick’s artistic ability to tame the tannic beast that is Tannat with subtle elegance and poise not only uplifts the fruit’s palate profile, but elevates the complete drinking experience.
“I bring my French training and approach to winemaking and apply them to the extraordinary single-vineyard terroirs of Northern California…I like to think my wines are soulful and distinctive, and I hope you will agree with me once you’ve tasted them.” — Yannick Rousseau (owner & winemaker, Y.Rousseau wines)
This is another total impulse-buy success story. I was at TJ’s, perusing the wine aisle, and realized for all its awesome reputation, I’ve never actually tasted anything from Freemark Abbey. It was a bit of a risk: not only was I trying a new winery, but I was testing them out on a varietal I’m not super keen on, nor too familiar with. But like I said, impulse-buy success story.
Skeptical, as always, when I receive a rosé — I’ve had some high highs and some low lows when it comes to the varietal. On the other side of that, though, is my track record with Grgich Hills Estate: from their light and lively Fumé Blanc to their downright earthy Napa Cab, Mr.’s Grgich and Hills have never steered me wrong.
Of course, then I read the blend. Cautiously concerned, but ultimately curious, there was nothing left to do but dive right in and taste.
Robert Craig: a name I’ve heard, but a wine I’d never tasted. Their claim to fame: hardy Napa Cabs. Which, for the delicate of palate, can be a tough sell. Napa is known for its chewy, tannic, teeth-staining red wines. Well, to my timid tasters, I say to you — you have a friend in Robert Craig.